When my baby nurses from his mom, he can see her face and bond with her because he was designed to do so by god. Like how a banana is designed by god to fit comfortably in the hand for eating, or maybe just carrying around.

What am I talking about?

Imagine the following two alternative scenarios.

Alternative Universe One

The Scene: Visiting Nurses Inc. VNI contracts with health care providers to send trained visiting nurses around to check in on newly minted babies and their parents. This is standard procedure in many health care plans, and of course, VNI wants to develop and maintain an excellent reputation and to follow all the state laws, regulations and guidelines. So they have a training meeting every other Monday morning.

Teh Boss is about to speak to a group of a dozen nurses. Nurse 1 and Nurse 2 are sitting together in the back of the room making the occasional remark to each other as Teh Boss speaks.

Teh Boss: OK, Nurses, this week we are going to add a new element to our dialog training, wherein we examine ways to improve our interaction with patients, to see to their individual needs and cultural norms.

Nurse 1 (to Nurse 2): Cultural norms. We sure need a lot of that these days with all the immigrants.

Nurse 2 (to Nurse 1): Yeah, especially the Hmong. Did you read that book about falling down?

Nurse 1 (to Nurse 2): Yeah, you gave that to me, It’s interesting. I haven’t read it yet.

Teh Boss: Quiet in the back please? Thank you. So, we are going to implement just one new idea today. In our recorded practice sessions, several of you used specific cultural references that might have been appropriate in some contexts but not in others, and so we’d better avoid them altogether. Specifically, some nurses, as part of their day to day speech, mention Jesus Christ or some related Christian Individual such as Mother Mary or Saint Zeno of Verona, the Patron Saint of Babies.

Nurse 1 (to Nurse 2): I saw this coming. Nurse Mary Alouisious is always going on about this or that patron saint. She used to be a nun, you know.

Nurse 2 (to Nurse 1): Yeah. I heard she got into a little baby-related trouble and had to leave the order!

Nurse 1 (to Nurse 2): Well, you didn’t hear that from me, tha’ts all.

Nurse 2 (to Nurse 1): Actually, now that you mention it, I think I did.

Teh Boss: Ladies, pipe down back there! OK, here’s the deal. Many of our clients are Muslims, what with all the Somalis moving into the area, and we have had a lot of Hmong women as well, and many of them are not Christian. So keep the religious references generalized. Don’t mention Jesus, Mary or Joseph, or anything specifically Christian or Muslim or of any religion. That should be easy to do. OK, lets get out there and do our jobs!

And with that, the nurses form a circle, putting their fists together.

“Hoo Yaa!!!”

And they all shout as the fists fly in the air, and the nurses head off to help new mothers and fathers with lactation, postpartum health, and family safety.

Alternative Universe Two:

The Scene: Visiting Nurses Inc. VNI contracts with health care providers to send trained visiting nurses around bla bla bla. So they have a training meeting every other Monday morning.

Teh Boss is about to speak to a group of a dozen nurses. Nurse 1 and Nurse 2 are sitting together in the back of the room bla bla bla.

Teh Boss: So, Nurses, we’ve been asked by management to address a letter sent by one of our clients. This relates to the issue of cultural sensitivity, I suppose.

Nurse 1 (to Nurse 2): … Here we go again with the PC talk!

Nurse 2 (to Nurses 1): Yeah ….. here we go again, alright…

Teh Boss: This person is an atheist, and was a bit put off when a visiting nurse made note of the fact that her baby was designed by god to be able to see its mother’s eyes while nursing.

The nurses and Teh Boss stare blankly at each other for a moment.

Teh Boss: Whatever.

As the nurses chortle and guffaw, they approach one another with their right hands in fists, and do the Nurse Salute … “Hoo-Yaaa!!” … on the way out the door for a day of nursing and keeping the world safe from itself.

And now, about those bananas…


  1. #1 Mr P
    December 1, 2009

    I LOVE the banana story. Every time someone tries to bring it up as a proof I try to see how far I can take it into offensive (to them) territory.

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    December 1, 2009

    I should add that I have a huge pile of respect for nurses and the work they do, and we have had only excellent interactions with nurses over the last several days, including the one nurse that mentioned intelligent design as an explanation for anything. The fact that over maybe 200 interactions this came up only once is a testament to the overall professionalism of these nurses and nurses in general.

    But still, I found the opportunity to make the point impossible to resist. And so far I’m assuming that the point is clear.

  3. #3 NewEnglandBob
    December 1, 2009

    My family has had experience with visiting nurses for both new babies and for elderly post op care. They are completely useless.

  4. #4 NewEnglandBob
    December 1, 2009

    Let me clarify my comment. I also respect nurses, just not the ones from VNA (visiting nurse association).

    My daughter is a nurse in cardiac ICU at Children’s hospital Boston.

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    December 1, 2009

    My only experiences with VN’s was in Mass and Minn, two states that claim to be tops in health care. All these experiences were with baby visits, and all were worthwhile. But I imagine there is variation.

  6. #6 becca
    December 1, 2009

    More to the point, it makes moms with whale-eyed babies feel bad 🙁

  7. #7 lisa fleming, RN
    December 1, 2009

    Please watch the video documentary “Sentimental Women Need Not Apply” for a new (to most Americans who are ignorant of the tremendous public health improvements of the 20th century brought about by nurses, NOT the medical establishment). Also, RE the banana video, who designed the orange? I’m a very experienced orange eater, and have yet to discover god’s easy steps to access that fruit. I wonder if we’re supposed to be eating oranges.?

  8. #8 Intransigentia
    December 1, 2009

    Long-time reader, first-time poster chiming in here to give my best wishes to your family.

    And I think we’re only supposed to eat mandarin oranges. The rest are clearly abominations.

  9. #9 NP
    December 1, 2009

    That banana video is too funny. Bananas are probably one of the worst examples they could have used. Bananas have been domesticated for a very very long time. The wild bananas that still exist (and are presumably still exactly the way God created them) lack moste of the characteristics that are bragged about in the video.

  10. #10 Kenneth McFarlane
    December 1, 2009

    But NP, since evolution isn’t real, it means that “domestic” bananas were the ones made by the big G, and wild bananas are obviously just decoration. I mean, jeez.

  11. #11 SQB
    December 2, 2009

    Alright, picture this.

    My wife is giving birth to our youngest son. All 4.5 kilos of him (9 lbs 14 oz in those queer units some people use). Our eldest was delivered by C-section without even a single contraction, so you get the picture.

    After a full night of labor (and still a couple of hours to go), she sighs/yells something along the lines that “after years of evolution, you’d imagine we’d be adjusted better to giving birth, instead of it being so painful”. Without missing a beat, a male nurse responded “well, evolution is nonsense anyway”.

    In retrospect, we should’ve said something, but at the time, we were both concentrating on something else and much too flabbergasted to say anything. But, looking back, we still wonder WTF?

  12. #12 SQB
    December 2, 2009

    Possible interpretations:
    * My baby was designed by god just like a banana (was).
    * My baby was designed by a god (who is) just like a banana.
    * My baby was designed by a god (to be) just like a banana.